Nathan James
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Nathan James

Band Blues Acoustic


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"excerpt from "Steady Rollin'" article"

Blues Revue Magazine Aug/Sept. 2007
excerpt from "Steady Rollin'" article
by Bob Margolin

Last January, Janiva Magness took me to hear spectacular young bluesmen Nathan James and Ben Hernandez. They knocked me out, and two weeks later, while I was in Memphis for the IBC, I heard that they were competing in the solo/duo category. I blurted, "Oh, they'll win." I hadn't seen the other acts, but I couldn't imagine anyone who could be more impressive. A few minutes later, I heard that they had indeed won. That's great for Nathan and Ben, but their music sounds as amazing in Pasadena as it does in Memphis. - Blues Revue Magazine


2003 Nathan James- This Road is Mine, Pacific Blues Recordings
2004 Nathan James and Ben Hernandez- Make a Change Sometime
2006 Carl Sonny Leyland meets Nathan James and Ben Hernandez, Sacred Cat Recordings
2007 Nathan James and Ben Hernandez- Hollerin! Sacred Cat Recordings
2009 Nathan James- I Don't Know it, Sacred Cat Recordings



Nathan James was born and raised in the small agricultural town of Fallbrook Ca in 1978. Starting his career of full time gigging musician at age 18, he is no stranger to live performance. While simultaneously discovering the guitar and the blues at age 13, Nathan has since been in complete focus as to where his life goal would lead. Having supportive parents that didn't force him into the usual college after high school, allowed him to go straight into the 'real working world' of playing music for a living.

At age 19 Nathan got the call from internationally known blues veteran James Harman to join his band and tour the country. During this 4 years of nonstop touring and recording is where he gained the experience and courage to have a go at a solo career. Nathan began focusing on playing the acoustic based styles of delta and Piedmont blues. In 2007 he entered the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN with then duo partner Ben Hernandez, and took 1st place.

Currently Nathan’s new three piece band is forging a cumulative sound that combines the sophisticated intricacy of acoustic bluesman such as Big Bill Broonzy and Blind Blake, with the electric uptown styles of Johnny Guitar Watson and B.B. King! This is not your average blues power trio that leans towards the much abused "blues rock" formula. Instead each member in the band knows all the nuances of the different feels and tones. Another unique aspect of a live show is band mate Troy Sandow. He may start off the set on upright bass while Nathan will play an uptown lead guitar style in the vein of B.B. or T-bone Walker. Then he will switch over to amplified harmonica and Nathan will fingerpick the bass notes and melody on his baritone guitar in the style of R.L. Burnside or Lightnin' Hopkins. Although Nathan's band pays homage to these traditions and has the same quality of musicianship, there is an original and fresh new energy coming from somebody of a much younger generation.

Nathan’s current touring band consists of:

Troy Sandow, another So. California native “young gun”, will switch off from upright and electric bass to harmonica during a show. This allows the band to go from the uptown styles to the more rocking “no bass” juke joint sounds. With these talents Troy is also currently one of the most in demand musicians in So. California, working full time with at least 5 different bands.

George Sluppick, native to and current resident of Memphis TN, rounds out the ryhthm section on drums. He is a seasoned veteran in the soul and groove styles originating from his musical hometown, and has toured and recorded extensively with renowned bands: Mofro, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Ruthie Foster, Papa Mali, Jimbo Mathus, and not to mention Blues legend Albert King at age 19! Being one of the most musical drummers, George can even hold his own all night playing just a cardboard box!!

Winthrop Blues Fest, Winthrop WA
G! Festival, Faroe Islands, Europe
Mönsteras Blues Festival, Mönsteras Sweden
Eutin Blues Festival, Eutin Germany
Kwadendamme Bluesfestival, Holland
Edmonton LaBatt’s Fest, Edmonton Canada
Rogue Valley Blues Fest, Ashland OR
Intl. Blues Challenge winner for Duo/solo
Memphis TN
Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA
Rootsway and Novellara Festivals, Italy
Novellara Blues Fest, Italy
Delta Blues Fest, Italy
Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland OR
Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, San Diego to Mexico
Blues Bash 4, Taipei, Taiwan
Arkansas Blues And Heritage Fest, Helena AK
Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA
2005 Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA
2003 San Francisco Blues Festival, SF CA